Former Watertown City Councilman Cody J. Horbacz expressed the proper sentiments last month regarding the goals and objectives that have been developed since the fall of 2018.
“I hope it doesn’t end up on a shelf,” he said about the 1 inch-thick document passed more than two weeks ago by the City Council.
He made a good point. City officials and staff members have logged many hours to come up with a strategic plan to chart Watertown’s future, and they now have a responsibility to put it into effect.
A few months after being hired in 2018, City Manager Richard M. Finn began working with council members on what priorities they wanted to pursue to improve the community. He urged them to come up with about a half-dozen ideas that city staffers could develop into a blueprint for the next five to 10 years. These goals and objectives would eventually be turned into policies implemented throughout the city.
Council members provided numerous examples of what they’d like to see done. Staffers started working in specific teams to flesh out a strategic plan.
They devised eight goals and sub-goals along with objectives to achieve them. Officials will update the strategic plan every two years.
“During the process, a series of open houses were held to give the public an opportunity for input. In October, an informational meeting, with 40 people in attendance, was held at Watertown High School,” according to a story published Dec. 27 by the Watertown Daily Times. “The eight goals [are]: establish partnerships, improve customer service, enhance internal and external communication, maintain fiscal sustainability, improve city infrastructure, take pride in the city’s appearance work on economic development and focus on public safety.”
With no strategic plan in place, the city government has missed opportunities in previous years to provide a clear vision of what should be accomplished over the short and long term. This is a chance for officials to make up for this shortfall.
We join Mr. Horbacz in hoping this document doesn’t get shoved onto a shelf somewhere and ignored. The decisions that department heads, staffers and council members make must take these goals and objectives into consideration. Let’s all look forward to seeing the strategic plan carried out to the greatest extent possible.